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" And Philip-said, Understandest thou what thou readest ?
Acts yiii, 30, 31.
BY far the most considerable part of the present volume is extracted from the Notes appended to the Family Bible edited by Dr. D'Oyly and Bishop Mant, under the direction of the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge. The Editor feels it incumbent on him thus early to make this declaration, that he may avoid all suspicion of taking to himself the credit so justly due to the labours of others. At the same time it is proper to state that some notes will be found in the present volume, which, though they do not occur in the Family Bible, are yet extracted from the very same authors, to whom the Editors of that work have had recourse. Besides these, a few notes are occasionally added, for which the Editor alone is answerable. He has also to acknowledge that he has freely availed himself, wherever it suited his purpose, of the notes given in Sir J. Bayley's edition of the Common Prayer.
Should the publication of a work like the present. be thought unnecessary after so general and extensive a circulation of the Family Bible as within these few years has taken place, let it be remembered that the admirable work in question must ever, from its extent and price, be beyond the purchase of the poorer classes in general, for whose use the present volume is chiefly designed. Many of the notes also in the Family Bible, excellent as they are in themselves, and seasonably as they are there introduced, are yet not exactly calculated for the instruction of the unlearned. The Editor therefore is anxious to have it distinetly understood, that nothing can be further from his thoughts, than the slightest wish to supersede the use, or diminish the circulation, of the Society's Family Bible. But he thinks that to persons who cannot procure that work, the present volume may not prove unacceptable or without its use. His aim has been to comprise within the space of a cheap and moderate-sized volume a collection of notes on the Holy Scriptures adapted to the capacity of ordinary readers, and designed for the benefit of such as have it not in their power to procure or consult larger works. It is hoped also that the present volume may supply a more portable and compact Commentary on the Scriptures than is, perhaps, elsewhere to be found.
The nature of his undertaking will afford a sufficient apology for the liberty which the Editor has occasionally taken, of substituting in the room of an elegant word or phrase of his authors, others less elegant perhaps, but plainer and more likely to be generally understood. This sacrifice of elegance to perspicuity will be of manifest advantage to some readers, and, it is hoped, will be readily pardoned by all. Should it be thought that many passages. are here interpreted, which are of themselves so plain as to need no interpretation, the Editor has only to plead in his defence, that in the course of his ministerial duties he has not unfrequently met with such instances of ignorance and misconception of Scripture, as, he thinks, fully justify him in offering an interpretation of the plainest passage commented on in the following pages. The more intelligent and better-informed should not therefore object to the insertion of that which could not be omitted without detriment to the more ignorant.
For the direction of the unlearned and such as are unaccustomed to the use of books of reference, it may be proper to add that the present volume was never designed to be studied instead of the text of the Bible itself, but in company with it. Let the reader take a portion of Scripture for his perusal, and when he meets with any thing in the Sacred Text which he does not fully understand, let him turn to the corresponding chapter in the collection of notes, and he will probably there find some explanation of the difficulty. If the present volume should in any degree tend to promote the study of the Holy Scriptures, or to render them better understood, the Editor will consider his labour not ill bestowed. At all events, as far as relates to himself, his time has been both profitably and agrecably employed,
Allesley, June, 1821.